‘US states’ road expansions clash with federal infrastructure priorities’


US states have focused on expanding roads rather than rehabilitating existing ones, contradicting the new transportation priorities set by the federal government, a media report said.

While around 20 per cent of the country’s major roads were rated in poor condition in 2019, “more than a third of states’ capital spending of roads that year, $19 billion, went toward sexpanding the road network” instead of rehabilitation, Xinhua news agency quoted The Washington Post report as saying on Monday.

It said the country’s Federal Highway Administration estimates a $435 billion backlog of needs to rehabilitate existing roads across the US.

“The hunger for new roads reflects a desire to connect growing communities and battle congestion at the local and state level in a nation where most people rely on cars. That appetite for expansion is clashing with new transportation priorities in Washington that seek to bolster existing highways while promoting other modes of travel,” the report said.

Citing transportation experts, The Washington Post said road expansion is “environmentally unsustainable” and adds to “traffic levels over time rather than reducing congestion”.

According to the report, the transportation priorities by the federal government are mainly reflected in new proposals and bills such as President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Biden’s original $2.3 trillion proposal, dubbed the ‘American Jobs Plan’, includes $621 billion to improve transportation infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and airports.

However, in a counterproposal to Senate Republicans on May 21, the White House lowered the overall price tag of Biden’s plan to $1.7 trillion.